The UAE introduced new changes to the rights of foreigners to own locally registered companies since 1st of December 2020. By the decree of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued on 23 November 2020 the foreign nationals were granted a right to obtain 100 % of shares (i.e. full ownership) in locally registered UAE companies.
Prior to that changes, foreigners were only able to possess up to 49 % of shares in domestic companies, while the rest 51% were required to be allocated amongst Emirati sponsors (i.e. UAE citizens).
Implementation of the mentioned decree is believed to be one of the UAE steps towards attraction of foreign investments due to recent decrease in local economy by 6.6% due to pandemic (according to Reuters).
The only one limitation which remains effective is that the new rules are not applicable for onshore UAE companies operating in specific sectors of economy – e.g. telecommunication and transport.